Paschal Quigley is the greatest singer-songwriter that Ireland has ever produced. He is also a figment of my imagination. For over a decade I have been writing and recording a radio mockumentary about his storied career in the Irish indie music scene. The script for that is almost complete, but I will post more about that in the coming months.
Down the years I have recorded a selection of Paschal’s most vital songs, as he traverses through many musical genres and phases of disillusionment. The song above is his indie smash Damascus that chronicles a moment of blinding realisation about his place in the music industry, while on a road trip to Cork. It might be his best song.
Throughout Paschal’s story he is a shapeshifter and reinvents himself. At some point in the late 90s Paschal pivots to punk and writes this rage filled reaction to his short-lived stint as an office temp. It also marks the moment he goes “electrical” at the first (and also last) Dungarvan folk festival. Play it LOUD!
Last year, to mark the 10th anniversary of our award-nominated play Three Men Talking About Things They Kinda Know About, we released a limited edition letterpress printed book, as well as a sumptuous, soundscaped radio play version. We are incredibly proud of the final piece and it is now available for free. Please have a listen on Spotify and add us to your playlists.
At my monthly Brownbread Mixtape show I would regularly write radio style comedy sketches to be performed by myself and our resident sketch troupe The Brownbread Players (Gus McDonagh, Eva Bartley and Sean McDonagh). I have been a huge Werner Herzog fan for many moons and something tickled me about trying to do one of his earnest and odd documentary style pieces about inner city Dublin. Gus also did a great Dublin accent and so I wrote it specifically with him in mind for the part. It started to flow pretty quickly as I wrote it, but then something wasn’t fully clicking. Suddenly the Joycean elements popped in my head and it came together really sharpy then. The closing monologue lifted from The Dead by James Joyce really elevated the piece from pure silly parody to something slightly more profound, just like a proper Herzog piece. It was one of the most odd and surprisingly popular sketches we ever did. The original live version can be seen here.
Enda Roche who ran the monthly Brownbread Mixtape show with me was studying audio engineering at the time at Windmill Lane, and decided to do a studio version of it as a project one semester, and so the studio version above was born. The sparse twangy guitar lends a lovely feel to it (and echoes the Herzog film soundtrack to Grizzly Man very nicely), and the sound effects of the chipper give it a nice documentary feel.
The sketch subsequently got incorporated into my award nominated Fringe show The Definitive View with Sneachta Ni Mhurchu, and a slight rewrite made it slightly softer and more empathetic to the skanger character. It had never fully sat right with me that he was an object of pure ridicule of the piece, and in the new version I made him more a victim of the harsh Irish government and society. In that show we had an ethereal piano piece to accompany it, and I felt it lifted the piece even further into a poignant piece about the forgotten faces on our streets.
It is still a piece of writing I am very proud of and it really proved to me that even the most obscure reference points can prove to be hugely popular if framed in a comedic setting, as the audience doesn’t need to know who Herzog is in this case, but if they do, it adds an additional layer. Plus I love doing Werner Herzog impersonations. I think it’s my true artistic calling in life.